The bluster about Ontario’s ‘community’ wind farm

February 6, 2017

Last week, the wind power communications machinery was touting the virtues of the Gunn’s Hill wind power project which they claim is Ontario’s first real “community” wind power project, half-owned by the local community.

The project’s success was owed to its partners, the Oxford Community Energy Cooperative, a (non-local) First Nation, and Bullfrog Power as well as the Germany-based power developer, Prowind.

The story was repeated on CBC’s Ontario Morning.

Community-based? Not so fast.

Retired engineer William Palmer wrote to correct the CBC on their assumptions, with this letter.

I listened with interest this morning as Wei Chen spoke with Miranda Fuller, Communications Director of the Gunn’s Hill Wind Project about this “community project” of the Oxford Community Energy Cooperative.

We learned:
– it is a project with 49% community ownership
– 33% of the members of the cooperative live in Oxford County

We heard also learned of the other owners, ProWind Canada, and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation.

Let’s look a little deeper at this community involvement.

The Cooperative Web Site says, “The present membership consists of 160 individuals and organizations that live in the project vicinity, Oxford County and all of Southern Ontario,” to whom $9 million in shares and debentures were sold.  Yet, to be a member of the cooperative the minimum share is $100, so not every member needs to be a major investor. It is interesting to read who some of the other members of the cooperative are – including the project developers. Elsewhere the website says there are 186 members.

So that means there are about 33% of 186 = 62 members of the cooperative that live in Oxford County … which Wikipedia tells us had some 105,719 residents in 2011, so we can see that 0.06% of the county population are supporters. It’s not exactly a wide support base in the county.

You might be interested in knowing that at the Environmental Review Tribunal the Township of Norwich Councillor for the impacted ward, Mr. Wayne Buchanan spoke of the Township of Norwich’s past and ongoing objections to the Project. He presented three letters to the Tribunal, one from the Township to Premier McGuinty asking for a moratorium on wind turbine developments, one to the Approval Holder (developer) asking for a delay in the development until noise and health studies are available, and one to Premier Wynne noting that the Township of Norwich was an unwilling host of industrial wind turbines.

You might also be interested in knowing that the office of the participating Six Nations of the Grand River Development Agency is located over 50 km from the wind turbines. It is a financial investment, but not exactly in their neighbourhood.  (A similar case occurred in the community of Dutton Dunwich, where the participation of First Nations groups included First Nations located near the Manitoba Border or James Bay, but not the local First Nation.) “Points” are received by the Ontario Renewable Energy Approvals process for “community involvement, or for First Nations involvement, even if they are not from the impacted community.

Now, why would folks invest in such a development?  Well, the 10 turbines of Gunn’s Hill will be paid some (10 x $135 a MWh x 1.8 MW x 8760 hours a year x 24% capacity factor) = $5,108,832 a year for the estimated 37,843 MWh they will produce – whether the electricity they produce is needed or not (as wind developers can be paid to curtail operation or not produce when the electricity is not needed).  Interestingly, had the power been produced instead by Bruce Power, the payment would have been less than half as much.  That $5 million a year for a 20 year contract, is pretty good return for a project with a total investment of perhaps $40 million. Few other (government supported) investments will return some 12.5% a year on a guaranteed basis for 20 years. Sadly, the power consumers of Ontario, including those who cannot afford to pay their electricity bills, are the payees of that investment return.

Wei Chen started to ask a question that deserved an answer … about how people will think when their electricity bills arrive. Ontario simply cannot keep paying twice as much for a product that is delivered best at times when it is not needed … and then pay Michigan or New York State to take the excess off our hands (or at the very least give them the electricity for free to power their industries) without adversely impacting power rates in Ontario. It is no wonder that Ontario rates are climbing so rapidly.

I thought that Wei Chen or other Ontario Morning staff might be interested in scanning  what concerns I would have presented to the Environmental Review Tribunal where I was accepted as an expert witness, had they chosen to accept all my testimony. (They did not, and what was presented was only a fraction of what was initially prepared for them). A copy of my presentation as initially offered to the Environmental Review Tribunal is attached, and signed as a Professional Engineer.  I note that many others in the community also made presentations – again with only partial acceptance by the Environmental Review Tribunal.

I have blind copied a few of the local participants and interested bodies who may not have heard your interview this morning and who may wish to contact you to confirm if what you were told was accurate that “once the turbines are in operation the project is accepted” or as Miranda Fuller noted, people see the turbines as “majestic.”

One of the Gunn’s Hill wind turbines. Photo taken from a non-participating, non-consenting and not happy neighbour’s home.

Comments

whooper
Reply

Way to go Bill Palmer! Amazing analysis!

Barbara
Reply

Thanks for the gross proceeds but the net proceeds are unknown.

How much will maintenance, repairs, and insurance cost?

A single blade replacement costs ~ USD $100,000 and about 1/4 of insurance claims are for blade damage.

It’s a good bet that these IWTs won’t last for 20 years. Saw a comment about how much it costs to remove a turbine at this time. Maybe I can find the cost estimate.

Barbara
Reply

Tuscola County, Mich.

Decommissioning cost est. ~ USD $66,700 per turbine as of Feb.2017.

Sommer
Reply

What more will it take for the portion of people in Ontario who still don’t realize that these turbines emits noise, low frequency noise modulations and infrasound radiation to realize the potential for harm. The list of symptoms that this causes nearby residents is on the Waubra Foundation website for all to see. And yes, it’s frightening to look at that list and to think it could happen to you or your family, but everyone needs to look at it so they understand what has already happened and is already happening to innocent rural residents in Ontario.
CBC is not a source of the truth.

Barbara
Reply

Ontario Superior Court Of Justice (Divisional Court)

Court File No. 2056/14
ERT Case No. 13-097/13-098

Re: Justice Mary Sanderson’s decision/ruling, c.July 18, 2012.

Are all of the rulings pertaining to Justice Sanderson’s decision filed under this Case number?

Barbara
Reply

Wellington Times, July 27, 2012

‘The tide turns’

Re: Ontario farm couple

Scroll down to:

“… taking on the provincial government, as well as a consortium composed of EPCOR, an Alberta-based utility, and Samsung, a large Korean multinational …’

Read more at:
http://www.wellingtontimes.ca/the-tide-turns

Christian Morales
Reply

That’s why they should not install wind farm on residential area.
Althought. it’s environmental friendly, is it also a human friendly?

Barbara
Reply

Posted Jan. 24, 2017

‘Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Mortality Reports, with Summary – Ontario Canada’

Follow the links to the Ontario records and data recently released.

http://www.ontario-wind-resistance.org

Maks Zupan
Reply

Hi, trying again, hopefully the right place. Thank you, Mr. Palmer for your rational and realistic words so much needed in this world of wind mills lies and desperate, false propaganda like the CBC show – for the supposedly innumerate Ontarians.
Your 0.06 % shows the magnitude of their deception tactics. What angers me most that Mr Mc Guinty and Miss Wynne listened only to this kind of deceptive propaganda and refused to listen to professional power engineers like myself and even to PEO recommendations. You can find a detailed, easily to understand letters- engineering evaluations- I wrote to Ms Wynne without receiving a reply. Her energy ministers also have no technical education and background so they can be easily manipulated.
40 billion damaqe to the Ontario economy caused by their collective stupidity, and naïve, irresponsible behaviour – it is hi time to impeach Ms Wynne..

My articles , published, you can find on the internet : “Open letter to premier Kathleen Wynne” and , after the moratorium on wind mills “Wind, solar do not deserve a second chance” by Maks Zupan, P. Eng.

I am a professional electrical power engineer, retired, worked on power plants, nuclear power plants, transformers ,and transmission and grid planning. Have not forgotten grade 4 mathematics yet…all that is needed to understand the green energy deception and fiasco.

Richard Mann
Reply

The problem is Wind and Solar are not reducing C02 and our government will not admit this costly failure. Ontario’s professional Engineers, those tasked with generation, transmission and billing, have reported the problem. our government continues to build more wind and solar.

Reference: “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates”. Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). April 2015.
(Archived at: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.ospe.on.ca/resource/resmgr/DOC_advocacy/2015_Presentation_Elec_Dilem.pdf)

Page 15 of 23. “Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants ?”

– Wind and Solar require flexible backup generation.

– Nuclear is too inflexible to backup renewables without expensive engineering changes to the reactors.

– Flexible electric storage is too expensive at the moment.

– Consequently natural gas provides the backup for wind and solar in North America.

– When you add wind and solar you are actually forced to reduce nuclear generation to make room for more natural gas generation to provide flexible backup.

– Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh.

– Wind and solar with natural gas backup produces electricity at about 200 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh. Therefore adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO2 emissions higher. From 2016 to 2032 as Ontario phases out nuclear capacity to make room for wind and solar, CO2 emissions will double (2013 LTEP data).

– In Ontario, with limited economic hydro and expensive storage, it is mathematically impossible to achieve low CO2 emissions at reasonable electricity prices without nuclear generation.

Richard Mann
Reply

Here is a “time line” showing the history of Wind Turbine Noise problems, going back as far as 1979. Each entry provides documentation:
http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ak2bgr7C0nhPdGR3S1lEekU3T3p4ZDhUNDdRV2Y2ZkE&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&height=650

1979 “First complaints received from a dozen families within a 3km radius of turbine”.
1981 “Wind turbine operation creates enormous sound pressure waves”
1982 “Closed windows and doors do not protect occupants from LFN”
1982 “NASA research on human impacts provided to wind industry”
1985 “Hypothesis for infrasound-induced motion sickness”
1987 “Wind industry told that dB(A) unsuitable to measure LFN emissions from wind turbines”

2004 “Wind industry knows noise models inadequate” (from Vestas)

2011 “Vestas knew that low frequency noise from larger turbines needed greater setbacks”

winds got to go
Reply

Thanks Richard the information ,invaluable .The stronger this group gets the better for our province . Nuclear is the cheapest and the best for our environment , Produces the most sub stainable jobs and with cheep power we could make a dent in greenhouse gases. We need a major protest to start happening and Dutton Dunwich is the perfect spot

Notinduttondunwich
Reply

Hey there Winds got to go… thanks for your support… your right about strength in numbers … not just here in DD but all across this beautiful province of Ontario… these wind companies don’t care about the damaging effects of living in close proximity to IWTs….or the economic hardship they are causing…… they will continue with this project here in DD and Amherst Island and the others….. suspension of future projects are not cancellations of future projects..
Our councillors that went to Toronto to meet with Energy Minister Glenn Thibeau….
ya they heard our concerns …
they were really concerned that we were concerned that they were concerned about us being so concerned!!! Another meeting was promised with the energy minister Glenn Thibeau when he was in the London area…. which has been this week….. no contact by the Glenn at all yet…. probly forgot!!!! He has a lot of important things to do…. like staged meetings with soft pre-approved questions only!!!
So…. now that we have done our due diligence in voicing our rights as citizens to our government….
Had a democratic public municipal referendum with 84% .opposition to this project…..
Declared our municipality a NON WILLING HOST
Told the Minister of Energy……. NO THANKS
Told the Premier Wynne …… NO THANKS
Presented 1822 individually signed legal opposition documents to the Premier…
Went to the Minister of Energy and personally said NO THANKS….

So now we sit here in DD on Death Row……
Inveridiots have scheduled their public meeting for March here to inform us how we are going to do this project against our will…..

Winds got to go……. this is every Ontarions opportunity to stop this insanity before we are physically….. mentally…. and financially ruined for generations… I’ve lived here in the big DD most of my life and I don’t want to go anywhere else…. so now my government won’t listen to our municipal officials or the good people of DD or ontario and we’re supposed to just sit by and take it in the keister and not say a word…. not on my watch…
All residents of Ontario need to gather at Amherst Island and block off that project right at the ferry docks.. all Ontarions need to physically lock arms with your neighbours and fight this BS right at the point of contact…. pick a dock… pick a road… pick a street and physically blockade these projects with cars …trucks… farm equipment… boats… bikes. .. hay bales…. tires… anything you can drag there to blockade….. they can not arrest all of us although I’m sure premier wynne will try cause that’s what dictatorships do to bad actors!!!
Personally I’m so surprised that Richard … Barbara…. Parker… Sommer….et al…. haven’t been detained and or “disappeared” yet for opposing so strongly to the projects and informing the general public of what is really happening…..

We will fight you from the back roads….
We will fight you from the fields…
We will fight you from ditches….
We will fight you from our Woodlots..
We will fight at all costs till we can fight no more…
This will be my last post on this site as the time has come for the redoubt to begin…….
Keep safe and never ever let your beliefs or vales be taken from you…. in the end it’s all you really have…
Good luck…

Barbara
Reply

There were also those who said give OFA and Wynne a chance a few years back. Others believed the wolf is not at my door.

DD, don’t give up posting!

Tracy
Reply

I’m with you Notinduttondunwich. As I stood alone in protest at the University of Western Ontario on a cold night in January waiting for the arrival of Justin Trudeau; again I felt much disappointment with the complacent demeanour exhibited by the people of Ontario.
I asked for support at Queen’s Park last year; again..nothing.
I am very grateful for the tremendous support of a handful of warriors on this site (you know who you are), who continue to work so diligently in their effort to stop this insanity. I as well, fear for their safety.
You are right, strength is in numbers. For one to physically stand with you is the least one can do to protect themselves. Ignorance will not make this go away; such a tragedy.
“In the end, all one has is their beliefs and values”, again, you are right.
If I can help, please get my email address from the WCO president. She has my permission to give this to you.
Wishing you all the best.

Joan
Reply

Thanks Bill for all your work and follow up.

As for the total investment, the developer took out a loan for $75 million, and all leaseholders for the project have a $75M “charge of lease” on their land titles.

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